[ID] => 9697
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2018-05-24 09:13:31
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-24 08:13:31
[post_content] => The concept of Responsible Care, adopted by the Canadian chemical industry in 1985, was prompted by a number of serious accidents, culminating in the Mississauga derailment in Ontario in November 1979 that caused the evacuation of nearly a quarter of a million people. Responsible Care was a pledge by industry to improve its safety and environmental performance.
The programme was rapidly adopted around the globe and is now in place in 65 countries. In many, adherence to the Responsible Care programme is now a requirement for members of national chemical industry associations.
In its early years, Responsible Care focused mainly on health, safety and environmental (HSE) performance at chemical production sites but it was soon realised that it had value to add to all elements in the chemical supply chain. Since the logistics function had become widely outsourced to third-party providers, there was a need to ensure that these companies too were adhering to the same high HSE standards as those chemical companies whose goods they were transporting.
This was the start of SQAS – a uniform, third-party assessment scheme to check the HSE standards of logistics service providers (LSPs). It dates back to 1992, when a working group of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) ran a pilot with three transport companies to test a new system of audits. Since its official start-up 25 years ago, SQAS has been expanding to cover the complete land logistics chain, including transport service providers, tank cleaning stations, warehouses, rail operators and chemical distributors.
A BIGGER BASKET
The initial scope of SQAS added a ‘Q’ – quality – to the HSE elements of Responsible Care. Later on it was expanded again to cover security in the logistics chain and, more recently, added corporate social responsibility (CSR) topics.
Last year, to mark its 25th anniversary, the meaning of SQAS was extended once more, now representing Safety and Quality Assessment for Sustainability, which is matched by an expanded and revised website at www.sqas.org.
SQAS aims to achieve continuous improvement among audited companies – its assessments are regularly updated to reflect changes in technology and the expectations of chemical manufacturers, regulators and the wider public. SQAS itself has also been the subject of continuous improvement: while its basic principles have stayed the same – the use of standardised assessments undertaken by independent auditors, for use by chemical companies as part of their risk management procedures – it has continuously adapted to changing industry requirements while also taking advantages of IT developments to make the system much more user-friendly.
None of this could have happened without the close collaboration of a number of organisations representing the logistics sectors in Europe, not least the European Chemical Transport Association (ECTA), the European Federation of Tank Cleaning Organisations (EFTCO) and the European Federation of Chemical Distributors (Fecc). Cefic signed Responsible Care partnerships with both ECTA and Fecc, which use SQAS to verify their members’ adherence to Responsible Care.
As Victor Trapani, SQAS and transport regulations manager at Cefic, explains, the worth of a system such as SQAS can only be measured by the rate at which it is used, and data show that the chemical industry is making increasing use of audit reports. In 2017 there were almost 1,000 SQAS assessments carried out, including an all-time record of 572 assessments of transport companies. The number of SQAS reports being consulted by chemical companies is also rising steadily, from around 3,000 in 2012 to almost 6,000 last year.
The value that SQAS provides has not gone unnoticed in other parts of the world; Cefic has supported and helped other regional associations establish SQAS-like local schemes in the Middle East (through the Gulf Petrochemical Association), China, Taiwan, South Africa and Brazil.
One aspect of that international support has been in the area of the recruitment, training and monitoring of SQAS assessors. Cefic knows that the quality of any assessment system depends on the reliability of those carrying out the assessments and has in place a solid management system to monitor their performance.
Indeed, Trapani says, the SQAS management committees that are in charge of the technical and strategic aspects of SQAS are permanently challenging themselves to improve the system. In December 2017, Cefic called a strategic review meeting with stakeholders to brainstorm new ideas and concepts.
As part of the continuous improvement process, Cefic is this year revising the questionnaires used in SQAS assessments. The structure is being changed with the aim of mirroring the structure of an effective safety management system. Indeed, this should be helpful to those companies that base their in-house systems on the SQAS format. Together with other significant changes designed to improve the system, these new questionnaires will be launched in January 2019.
The new structure has five sections rather than three, which is more in line with the latest version of ISO 9001. Within that, the sub-section about IT security has been upgraded and new questions have been added concerning measures to avoid microplastics contamination in rivers and seas.
In the SQAS Transport Service questionnaire, the section relating with subcontracting has been improved and there will be a significant reduction in the total number of questions. This is designed to allow the assessor to concentrate on areas for improvement. The SQAS Warehouse questionnaire will have a new section about bagging and an upgraded section on physical security. The SQAS Tank Cleaning questionnaire will have upgrades to its sections on effluent treatment and loaded tank heating.
“There are other important changes, not related to the questionnaires, that will be communicated in the SQAS General Assembly on 14 June,” Trapani states.
[post_title] => SQAS: Silver safety
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => sqas-silver-safety
[post_modified] => 2018-07-16 15:45:31
[post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-16 14:45:31
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=9697
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Cefic is marking the 25th anniversary of SQAS with an extended remit, a new website and a focus on improving its value to chemical shippers and their LSPs